- MOSCOW (AP) _ A Russian naval officer and journalist imprisoned for
more than a year on treason charges went on trial Thursday for allegedly
passing secrets about Russia's navy to Japanese media.
- The trial of Capt. Grigory Pasko, a reporter
for the military newspaper Boevaya Vakhta, or Combat Vigil, first opened
in October but was immediately postponed. Pasko has been in jail since
his arrest in November 1997.
- Pasko was shown on Russian television
walking into the closed trial at a naval court in the Far Eastern city
of Vladivostok with a pile of documents. He looked healthy and said his
mood was ``fine.''
- Prosecutors say he passed on classified
information about the readiness of the Russian Pacific Fleet. Lawyers for
Pasko maintain the information he gave to the Japanese television station
NHK and other outlets simply detailed the environmental problems at several
Russian Pacific Fleet bases.
- Some of the footage allegedly passed
on showed Russian sailors dumping liquid radioactive waste into the Sea
- If convicted, he faces up to 20 years
in prison, Russia's ORT television reported. His lawyers appealed again
Thursday for Pasko's release from pretrial detention, to no avail.
- Pasko's case has drawn the attention
of national and international human rights organizations and journalist
groups. The France-based advocacy group Reporters Without Borders appealed
to authorities Wednesday for his release.
- He ran in recent City Council elections
in Vladivostok, in what his aides called an effort to draw attention to
the case and help obtain his release. He also could have won immunity from
prosecution as an elected official. He lost the race.